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WoWInsider Community Blog Topic: Would You Play on an Expansion Specific Server?

September 8, 2013 3 comments

Karathress_Down

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, mostly blaming work, where I read/edit/post blogs all day and keeping a raiding guild functioning on a regular basis. I have a lot of topics tumbling around in my head and not a lot of time to devote to writing, but this topic stood out to me while I ate dinner tonight, so I wanted to add my two cents! More content will be coming between all my travel and my workload, which hopefully won’t explode in the near future!

So WoWInsider posed their Community Blog Topic today, asking if players would play on expansion specific servers. They asked that the following questions be considered when making your decision:

  • How would you handle classes? Would you take a snapshot of how they were designed in the last patch before the next expansion prep-patch? Or would you make the classes behave as they did at the beginning of the expansion? Or would you leave the classes as they are now?
  • Would you allow transfers to these servers or would you have to level a character from scratch? Would you leave in the experience bonuses put in toward the end of each expansion, or keep the leveling speed at how each expansion began?
  • For Vanilla servers, would you leave in LFD or make everyone PUG? What about LFR? Would you implement it for the older servers or force those to be PUGged as well?

I’ll admit, I’m a member of the rose-colored glasses wearing community. I joined the WoW community at the end of Vanilla. I never got a chance to raid, but I did have some great friends who introduced me to an RP realm, where we acted like crazies on Alliance-side, to a more, subtle, Horde guild where I got to experience playing a female Troll hunter, my first Horde character (her name was Zelinda). I don’t think I ever made it past level 20, but I was having fun experiencing all that WoW had to offer then.

The Burning Crusade launched and that was probably when I threw myself into WoW, for a lot of reasons. I began leveling another hunter, playing on a PvP realm (what a huge change from an RP realm!), and hearing one of my friends talk about this “raiding” thing. Eventually I hit 70, got a bit of gear, and was recruited into a guild that a coworker raided in. Suddenly, I was checking out Gruul’s Lair, and having fun with this whole “raiding” concept.

Visiting_Vashj

My BC guild’s first visit to Lady Vashj

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the Burning Crusade was when my raiding “career” really began. It could be expanded further upon that BC became my WoW career. Running a guild with a 25-man raiding team and juggling all the work that went into that (let’s just say the tech to support guilds both in AND out of WoW didn’t exist to the point that it does today) was very time consuming. But it was fun. Kael’thas,  not so much fun. Mount Hyjal and it’s endless waves of trash? Possibly less fun than Kael.

The Burning Crusade raid team disbanded and I found myself running both 10 and 25-man raids in Wrath. And burning out pretty quickly. I gave a half-hearted effort to Ulduar as a 10-man raid, skipped all of Trial of the Crusader, and PUGged my way into Icecrown. All the while I wore my rose-colored glasses about how great the Burning Crusade was.

Cataclysm followed, along with a raiding break. I started raiding again in Firelands on a 10-man raid team, before making a short-lived jump to 25-man raiding again. Dragon Soul found me back into the 10-man mold, and I continued the tradition through Mists.

Through every expansion, I have extolled the virtues of the first WoW expansion. I really did love that time. But when I step back, it wasn’t the game I really loved, but the people I played with. In some ways, I wish I could crash the people I played with for “drunk Kara” and Serpentshrine Cavern, together with my current raid team, because together, they would have a lot of fun.

If given the option, I would not play on an expansion specific server. Let me explain why:

Vanilla

  • Tiny, minuscule amounts of gold
  • Unclear questing or mobs that never contained items you needed to gather–I’m sure EVERYONE has had experience with Zhevra Hooves in the Barrens or Boar Livers in Westfall…
  • Level 40 ground mounts and level 60 to get your “faster” ground mounts
  • Tiny bag sizes
  • Running to meeting stones to summon
  • 5 minute buffs
  • Fielding 40-man raids

Burning Crusade

  • Rep grinds for everything
  • Netherwing mount grind
  • Attunements
  • Fielding 25 players for raiding
  • Alchemy/Cloth specialties–I remember standing at the Alchemy lab to make flasks before raids…
  • Flying costs–and no flying until you hit 70
  • PvPing to take graveyards close to SSC
  • The launch of daily dungeons/quests
  • Finding people who would want to run H. Shattered Halls for the Champion of the Naaru quest
  • Doing Arena for gear when items wouldn’t drop in raids
  • Epic gems only came from Mount Hyjal and Black Temple
  • Kael’thas
  • Blood lust was group specific–BRING ON THE SHAMAN

Wrath of the Lich King

  • 10 and 25-man raids that didn’t share lockouts–the burnout, let me show you it
  • All the different currencies to keep track of
  • More daily dungeons/quests and weekly raid quests
  • Vehicle fights–still iffy on these
  • GearScore! (I know, this wasn’t a Blizzard thing, but…)
  • Introduction of LFG–is this even still in game?!? As in, the window where you selected the raids/stuff you wanted to run and people checked it to fill slots

Cataclysm

  • Underwater zone
  • Introduction of LFD and LFR
  • Resurrection of the Zul’Agains
  • Heroic Al’akir

Now, not everything was bad though! Here were things I liked about, or have great memories of, the previous expansions:

Vanilla

  • New world, tons of exploring to do
  • Great people to show me the ropes
  • Seeing someone in epic gear and hoping that one day I could “be like them”

Burning Crusade

  • That epic feeling when we downed Lady Vashj and the screaming that erupted in Ventrilo when she died
  • The people I raided with and still think about regularly
  • Having the fully epic gear and being known as a great guild on the realm
  • The realm teamwork of all the guild GMs to help each other out even though we were competing against each other
  • The first ever guild Magister’s Terrace run–mostly for the humor at us getting locked out of it and realizing JUST HOW HARD MAGT WAS
  • The WoW Community

Wrath of the Lich King

  • Fun and varied raids
  • Getting my blue proto during a PUG run
  • My first Lich King kill, which was actually in a PUG
  • Finishing Tier 7 and being the best geared holy paladin on realm
  • Old friends coming back to WoW and joining me

Cataclysm

  • Meeting great people on the raid scene
  • Easy gearing of alts thanks to Dragon Soul LFR
  • Killing Heroic Madness before the expansion ended
Our BC humor made raiding fun

Our BC humor made raiding fun

When I actually compose a list, it wasn’t the game mechanics (though, let’s be honest, playing a beast mastery hunter in the Burning Crusade meant you hit one button, and it was pretty sweet–sorta like being an arcane mage in Wrath) that made me like an expansion, it was the people. My memories are based around events that I did with people that I loved spending time with, not really about the content I cleared or the quests I did.

If given the option, I would remain where I am–in current content, with the people I currently play with. Would I love some of my blasts from my past from my old raid teams to resurface? Yep–maybe that’s a door I can open thanks to FlexRaiding. But I would never go to an expansion specific server if it was an option.

Now, in the fairness of addressing all the questions that WoWInsider asked, let me provide answers if I WERE to have the opportunity to play on an expansion locked realm:

  • How would you handle classes? Would you take a snapshot of how they were designed in the last patch before the next expansion prep-patch? Or would you make the classes behave as they did at the beginning of the expansion? Or would you leave the classes as they are now?
    • Classes would be snapshotted at how they were designed in the last patch before the next expansion pre-patch. This includes the old talent trees, the ability to use ranked spells, and the return of the hunter trap dance! Original requirements would still be in place–books would have to be found to learn spell ranks, and hunters would need to go tame various levels/types of pets for them to train their current pets with new abilities.
  • Would you allow transfers to these servers or would you have to level a character from scratch? Would you leave in the experience bonuses put in toward the end of each expansion, or keep the leveling speed at how each expansion began?
    • I think players should have to level from scratch. Without heirlooms or experience bonuses. I remember how long it took to level–it wasn’t great, but when you reached the end, you could /cheer and realize you wouldn’t have to do it again unless you were 1/ bored, or 2/ your raid team needs a different class than the one you play.
  • For Vanilla servers, would you leave in LFD or make everyone PUG? What about LFR? Would you implement it for the older servers or force those to be PUGged as well?
    • If we’re going old school, we’re going old school. Players aren’t going to have the ability of easy grouping via LFD and LFR. If we’re going to go for the classic experience, we’re going to do it the way it originally was.

Do I think this attitude will drive people away? Maybe. But that’s how we used to play. If people stuck with it, I could see the Vanilla and Burning Crusade servers having a much more developed community than we currently possess in the MoP WoW iteration. The revival of the community could do great things for this game.

A Look Back at Cataclysm…

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment

So here we are…less than 24 hours from the launch of the newest World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria.

I’m still neutral on a new expansion. I discussed my thoughts at length last night with a guildie and shared that right now, for me, the biggest draw of the new content is going to be the day I step into the new raids. I’m looking forward to strategizing with my cotank, figuring out how we’re going to handle the fights, looking forward to the motivation of downing new content.

But instead of looking forward into the crystal ball at the content I haven’t run yet, let’s look back on Cataclysm in general!

Launch and Tier 11

I don’t really recall Cataclysm’s launch. I wasn’t in an active guild,4 so I wasn’t in any rush to level. I was on a high population realm, Area 52, so I think I actually didn’t bother to log in for a couple days until the initial rush died off. Not to mention that it was in the middle of the holiday season, so I was busy baking and preparing to entertain guests.

I leveled my first Paladin, Valkyrii (my Wrath main), to 85, and then followed up by leveling my hunter, Mirina (my BC main). At some point Raziel was thrown into the mix, along with my Death Knight (Azrael), my Priest (Gabriel), my Mage (Raaena), and my Warlock (Kiiera). To this day, I haven’t leveled the rest of my alts (2 shaman, a warrior, a rogue, another DK (who is now set up for Herald of the Titans), and my druid), because the Cata content got dry very quickly.

I decided that I wanted to go back to raiding (I had taken T9 and T10 off from guild raiding, and instead PuGged through ToC and ICC), so I started looking around. Not seeing many options on realm, I decided to start recruiting. We had almost gotten a solid team, but no one wanted to focus on gearing and I ended up deciding to transfer off the realm.

That’s one of the challenges with large population realms–there’s a ton of people, but there’s also more guilds than you can shake a stick at.

So as Tier 11 approached it’s end, and I still hadn’t started raiding, I began searching off realm for a new home.

I ended up transferring Raz to Drenden to raid with Rades‘ guild, Tsu Tain Guu Faitaa, otherwise known as TTGF!

Tier 12

I ended up joining TTGF to tank full-time in Firelands. Which, looking back on Firelands, was pretty damn fun. Dog tanking on Shannox, chasing adds around on Rhyolith, and eating Decimation strikes on Baleroc (ouch).

Firelands was a fun tier, but I still have heartburn over the fact that we missed the nerf bat by a week on the raid. We had been working so hard on Ragnaros, and almost had him down. But due to our inability to sync schedules for weekend raids, we missed our chance for our pre-nerf kill.

It was a sad day.

We dabbled with some Heroic bosses, but primarily stayed with normal clears through the raid. The bigger challenge for me was our raid times. I was raiding 10p-1a while having to make a weekly client meeting the following morning, requiring me to be about 3 hours after I went to bed (assuming raid wrapped at 1a). My body couldn’t keep up with  the time difference, and I had to look for another place with better aligned raid times (the challenge of raiding with a West Coast guild!).

Firelands was great because I finally got to focus on what I loved doing best, tanking. I had healed in Wrath, dabbling with tanking when my GM was willing to respec to Holy for me tank 5-mans. I was never able to tank in a raid environment (the downside of having a BiS healing set for the time), so Firelands was the first chance I got to fully climb into the tanking driver’s seat and get ready for the ride.

And it was totally worth the lack of sleep to do it!

BlizzCon

BlizzCon fell towards the end of Firelands, and I had a blast! I got the opportunity to meet a ton of the folks I get to talk to on Twitter and to spend some time with some of the great WoW personalities! I even got some time to talk to Ghostcrawler himself about tanking at the Charity Dinner (which was super cool as well)!

While at BlizzCon though, I got to meet a ton of members of my future (and current) guild, Enveloping Shadows! It was fun to be able to sit down, drink, and socialize with a large majority of the officers!

Soon after I returned home, I applied as a healer (hilarious, I know), and was accepted. I transferred over a couple weeks later and dove into Firelands with a 25-man team, trying to wrap my brain around healing. I actually healed for our H. Alysrazor kill!

But there were only a couple weeks left in Firelands, and then we headed into Tier 13…

Tier 13

Tier 13 started with some healing fun, but before Christmas I had swapped back to Prot almost full time. I’d heal as necessary (I do actually have a pretty nice healing set on Raz now…and a pretty nice Ret set…and yea…), when we managed to be short a healer.

Tier 13 was the first time that I can say that I tanked an entire raid, start to finish, on all difficulties. I got to down Deathwing on Heroic mode several times!

Tier 13 was interesting…I went from 25-man raiding back down to a 10s team. I watched as we were almost barely able to fill a raid towards the end of the tier. I watched people decide to “retire” from raiding, shrinking our pool to the point that we were pulling in non-raiding guild members that we hoped could hit buttons or soak an Hour to pulling in people like Rades once Dragon Soul went RealID wide.

Rades has bailed my ass out repeatedly. Thanks dude!

The Miscellaneous…

Since we got to the point that we were clearing H. Dragon Soul in 2 hours, we had a lot of time to fill. ES took some time to backtrack into Tier 11 and clean house in H. Bastion of Twilight, capturing our first guild Heroic clear and downing Sinestra, to heading to Throne of the Four Winds and cleaning up H. Al’Akir. We went back to play in Blackwing Descent, but still, to this day, H. Nefarian still isn’t playing nice…maybe at 90.

In Conclusion…

Cata, while not the most “thrilling” expansion to me (I still haven’t quested through all the low level content), brought about a lot of changes in my play style. I’m back to raiding full-time, having an integral spot on a raid team, having a raid team that I usually love signing on to hang out with (usually because some nights I’m just not in a mood for people).

As the clock ticks down, I spent time cleaning out Raz’s bank, taking some time to gear my unplayed hunter (she went from 333 ilvl to 375 last night thanks to guildies carrying me through dungeons), and playing around. I haven’t been online much in WoW lately, but the past couple days I wanted to go back and play the content. I pulled people through dungeons, both guildies and PuGs, for the shear fun of seeing how fast we could clear the content before I never set foot in them again. I’ve run ZG, ZA,  and even multiple Deadmines. I even did a full clear of H. Halls of Origination yesterday afternoon!

To me, that’s the perfect send off. Remember what you did in this expansion, and run it with the people who bring you joy in the game world, and in turn, energize yourself for what’s right around the corner.

In less than 15 hours MoP is live…I wish everyone the best with leveling! I’ll see you in Heroics soon!

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4.3.2 – RealID Raiding

January 9, 2012 20 comments

So a discussion had apparently started yesterday on Twitter–one which I apparently missed because I wasn’t paying much attention to Twitter (aside from bemoaning the fail I was finding in LFR all day). The talk of being able to RealID raid with your cross-realm friends has been noted in the 4.3.2 patch notes, and the Twitter community is fairly close–some members get together for parties, see each other at BlizzCon, text/call each other, etc. Some of us have even run cross-realm 5-mans when the RealID option first appeared. It should be no surprise that with the newest PTR data, the hash tag, #10MTwitter and #25MTwitter were born.

But then there’s the challenge–I love all my Tweeps, and I don’t want to alienate anyone who would want to run stuff. And I love running the old content, but there’s still a lot I’d like to accomplish, and haven’t accomplished yet, with the Cata tiers.

And so I pondered. And I went to my favorite thinking spot (my shower). And I thought some more. And then it hit me. I could achieve my goals for Cata, while playing with people who were of the same mindset.

And so my plan was born.

Miri’s RealID Heroic 10M

Who: A selected group of interested individuals for a team

What: T11/12 Heroic modes and achievements

When: 2 nights a week, most likely Thursday & Friday from 9p-12a Eastern

Why: Because I feel weird if I’m not doing difficult stuff in WoW–I like achievements and I like fights that require effort

If You’re Interested…

Drop me a comment and let me know if you want to keep it private. I am being selective and have had some communication with people who I have played with in the past and some that I play with now to gauge their interest.

If you’re a solid player and have a desire to see the Heroic endings of several raid tiers, are willing to come as supplied and prepared as you do for a progression night with your own guild, and are Horde, please let me know!

I’m Still Here…

November 23, 2011 2 comments

Let's Hear it for Our Shaman - First Heroic Alys Kill (Pic by Rhidach)

Another one of those short and pointless blog posts that I seem to have an overwhelming tendency to make now.

I’m still alive, and still killing stuff in WoW (when it’s not killing me as the header pic shows)! I’ve added Heroic Domo and Heroic Alys to my collection of kills, basically relearned how to heal as Holy (it’s a completely different play style in 25s) and have discovered that I basically can’t heal 10s or 5s in my current gearing style. You’ll get some great shields, but with basically no haste? You’re screwed >.> So I guess I’ll continue tanking 5s when I get bored and need to cap VP.

Real life has sorta crit me hard–work has been absolutely hellacious and I’ve been prone to frustrated outbursts and panic attacks (as Twitter has been witness to) depending on what’s tossed at me. I’m in desperate need of this Thanksgiving break so I can unwind, get some WoW time in, and just do no work.

Things to come (this should look familiar):

  • Discussion about Paladins and Mastery healing in 25s
  • Heroic Alysrazor  strat
  • Heroic Domo strat
  • Heroic Shannox strat
  • Gear review for 4.3 (Prot and Holy)

And I’m sure I’ll think of more stuff. But anyways, I do still exist and I’m still really active on Twitter, so if you need something, or have a topic idea, hit me up there!

–Miri

A Change of Scenery…

November 3, 2011 1 comment

I never thought this SS would be spot on in the future..

As some of you know, I’ve been an East Coast resident keeping up with the a West Coast raiding team. I’ve been raiding 10p-1a my time for the past 4 months, which was working out at the very beginning…and then one of my coworkers retired and I was “gifted” his accounts. While not the most awful thing, my engagement level with my clients stepped up, and I was going from a raid night to a very restless (and short, usually about 4 hours) sleep to a caffeine fueled work day. It was a running amusement on Twitter watching me struggle to make it through Thursdays; 2 cups of coffee as I left the house, a venti from Starbucks to get into my office, and then 1-2 Red Bulls and then a Coke on my way home. I was meeting clients looking (and feeling) like a zombie, and I just couldn’t keep it up any longer. I already work long days, but taxing my much needed sleep was becoming too much–days filled with headaches, me getting snappy in vent as exhaustion kicked in and I still had 2 hours left of tanking to go.

I spent a good chunk of BlizzCon catching up on sleep. 12-14 hours of sleep and I began to feel rested, with the dawning realization that I’m unable to handle random sleep patterns while remaining employed and never knowing what each day will bring me. It was a difficult decision, because I liked the people I was guilded with, but Mal and I were the early players because of the time difference. Things got  started late, and finished even later for us. We agreed that even though our work schedules are going to remain long and demanding, we still wanted to continue raiding, but on a better schedule for us.

And so here we are. A new realm, a new guild, a new raid team, a new raid size. A new role.

My focus on tanking will be shifting in the VERY near future, as I am picking up my off-spec for full time play. My focus on tanking, and a primary generator of traffic to this blog will be diminished, but I’ll still be doing it in 5-mans and as needed for raids. I will instead be resuming a role I performed in Wrath, stepping back from the action and into the healing mindset. This may change what I post, as healing posts aren’t incredibly exciting–so I will probably stick with more generalized strat discussion for Firelands Heroics and Dragon Soul as we progress through the content.

So thanks for sticking with me through the changes, and I hope you continue to find lots of amusement (and possibly education) here in the future!

–Miri

BlizzCon 2011 – Charity Dinner

October 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Thrall, by Glenn Rane

Hello from BlizzCon! My BlizzCon experience started out much better than some–simply for the fact that I didn’t have to take on LineCon 2011 to get my badge!

Instead, I was able to sit in the lobby and enjoy the company of members of Enveloping Shadows: Rhidach, Antigen, and Ildara, in addition other guildies! I also am able to say that I had a drink with the amazing mathematical genius of the Paladin community: Theck! It was an absolute blast and the members of ES are an incredible group of people to hang out with!

Once their hotel room was ready, we parted ways, Ant and Rhi heading to the WoW Insider party and myself and Mal heading to our room to get ready for the Charity Dinner that night.

The dinner was lovely (I spent more time at the bar than I did eating, this came back to haunt me later), and I was able to speak with several members of the WoW development community!

I did get one on one time with Greg Street, Ghostcrawler! It was at the charity dinner that he broke the sad news to me that the developers would not be discussing the upcoming tanking changes that he had highlighted in the ongoing Water Cooler sessions. *sad Raz moment* I thanked him for his efforts and the open lines of communication that he has strived to maintain with the WoW community, while dealing with the absolute bottom of the WoW community that inhabits the forums.

I also got to speak with Mike Morhaime, who was a fun and energetic individual who is completely devoted to the growth and development of Blizzard. It was very refreshing to see a company President so in touch with his employees and it was readily apparent that he loves what he does.

J. Allen Brack was absolutely hilarious and incredibly honest to speak with regarding WoW in general! He told me that he was greatly impressed by my lore knowledge and my interest in the characters who inhabit the World of Warcraft universe! I also got to speak with his father, who is also a WoW player and currently working on Dragonwrath for his guild!

I got to speak with Chris Metzen and apparently my husband is the new “Red Shirt Guy” after that discussion! I didn’t realize it would be so easy to stump Chris regarding his own lore! We spoke to Chris regarding Sylvanas’ character development and inquired if we would see closure on Syl in Cataclysm or if her character would continue to develop through the next expansion. Chris confirmed that we shouldn’t expect resolution to the Plaguelands situation with Sylvanas and Koltira (damn!) in this Expac. He also confided that Sylvanas scares the shit of out him–and that she’s more batshit insane in his mind than Garrosh is. He actually fears Syl more than Garrosh! We stumped Chris on our inquiry about Lillian Voss. Apparently she has been completely forgotten as an NPC in Chris’s eyes! I felt that I should have gone and gotten Mal a red polo after that discussion!

Once we stepped away for the evening, we headed down to the Hilton lobby, where the parties were just getting started. I got to spend some time with Aldous and Sniz from TTGF, and even managed to draw Dee out of her hotel room after she had spent the entire day on a plane! There was a lot more alcohol consumption and there was a great picture that hit Twitter of me laughing so hard about something that I fell flat on my butt at our table (we were standing, not sitting). All in all, I’m sure Sniz is now very concerned about one of the guild’s tanks and her apparent sanity (or lack thereof).

Once Aldous and Sniz departed, and Mal chose to go to bed, Dee and I got to sit and talk Firelands (ick) and lore (yay!) for what resulted in several hours. Apparently during our discussion someone fell into the fountain in the bar and we both missed it!

I was gifted some of Dee’s lovely sketches (SHEEEEEEEPS!) and she even hand delivered popcorn cheese to me (which I’m staring at as I type this).

Anyway, it was a great kick-off for BlizzCon, and it made sitting through the first day of panels VERY difficult because I was up so late (and maybe partially hung over, but I’ll never admit to that)!

More to come on panel discussion, assuming I don’t fall asleep as I’m typing this!

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